26 Quotes To Inspire Market Research Success

Man celebrating under a rain of floating numbers


Market (and Marketing) Research is an odyssey of numbers and an epic of depth psychology. It’s commonly an intense road of discovery, and many who have traveled it tend to leave their wisdom for us.

We did say intense, which we’re sure most of you agree with when it comes to research. That hasn’t changed since ancient times.

For example, in the 7th century B.C., we have the story of philosopher Thales being so engrossed in studying the stars he didn’t notice a well and fell right into it. There is also the 3rd century B.C. story of philosopher Archimedes, famous for this cry of “Eureka,” who would not look up from his mathematical diagram when a conquering Roman general entered his tent wanting to meet the famous thinker; in a fit of rage, the Roman general killed Archimedes.

And it continues today, though with not so many painful endings. Researchers are as engrossed as ever, but again, when we pause from staring at the stars or mathematical diagrams of our projects we can find insights from seasoned thought leaders.

We’ve compiled a list of this wisdom in the form of 26 quotes, some sound and some quirky (also found in a more visual format at the end of this article in a SlideShare). We hope you can both applaud and laugh at yourself:


“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

– Albert Einstein


“Bad news sells papers. It also sells market research.”

– Byron Sharp


“Research is about engaging in a conversation with a brand.”

 Matthew Rhodes


“Telling a story remains one of the biggest challenges facing market research today.”

 David Smith


“Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything.”

 Gregg Easterbrook


“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.”

 Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.”

 Marston Bates


“The bad news for our industry is that we periodically forget that people are notoriously bad at telling us the truth.”

 Stephen Needel


“Asked about the power of advertising in research surveys, most agree that it works, but not on them.”

 Eric Clark


“Market research can be not just misleading, but disastrous for people who work on instinct.”

 Terence Conran


“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.”

 Wernher Von Braun


“Traditionally, market research has not made a strong claim on the future. Its traditional methods… are inevitably limited to discovering how consumers feel today.”

 Dr. Rachel Lawes


“What is research, but a blind date with knowledge.”

 William Henry


“Research is four things: brains with which to think, eyes with which to see, machines with which to measure and, fourth, money.”

 Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”

 David Ogilvy


“The market research department is increasingly perceived as being not just responsible for the organization of research, but also for sharing and distributing knowledge and expertise in a credible and convincing way.”

 Christoph Palmer


“People are unlikely to know that they need a product which does not exist and the basis of market research in new and innovative products is limited in this regard.”

 John Harvey-Jones


“He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask is a fool forever.”

 Chinese proverb


“The pressure on marketers to deliver faster advertising return on investment should be a good thing for the research industry because it forces us all to question some fundamental research practices.”

 Jill Telford


“Traditional measurement has been so comprehensively attacked it is amazing it is still used.”

 Peter Field


“Eighty to ninety percent of our behavior is determined by our subconscious mind. The problem market researchers face is that they communicate with the conscious mind of consumers.”

 Ralph Poldervaart


“Much of the discussion among marketers about the so-called “multi-channel” shopper has focused almost exclusively on the channel and hardly at all on the shopper.”

 Dr. Alan Treadgold


“To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal ideas from many is research.”



“USA Today has come out with a new survey – apparently, three out of every four people make up 75% of the population.”

 David Letterman


“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”

 Mark Twain


“Some people use research like a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”

 David Ogilvy


Let us know if there are any quotes that inspire or warn you. In the end, we hope you can appease those angry Roman generals that are your clients when you’re too engrossed instead of fully engaged with a brand during a research project.


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